Pro-government supporters take to the streets of Aleppo to celebrate the Syrian government's victory in the city. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). STORY: Supporters of the Syrian government took to the streets of Aleppo to celebrate on Thursday (December 22) after the Syrian army said it had retaken complete control of the city. The last rebel fighters were evacuated from the battered city, handing President Bashar al-Assad his biggest victory of the nearly six-year-old war. The evacuation of the rebels, who had been holed up in a small, battered enclave in Aleppo, puts the city entirely under the control of the army and its allies after years of fighting, state television said. The final phase of the evacuation ended when a convoy carrying nearly 150 people, including fighters and members of their families, departed towards rebel-held areas outside the city, it said. Broadcasting live, state media showed footage of a convoy crossing from the Ramousah highway junction in south Aleppo to al-Rashideen in the countryside just southwest of the city. Under a deal brokered by Turkey and Russia, convoys of buses and cars have shuttled thousands of civilians and fighters out of Aleppo's last rebel-held pocket towards opposition areas outside the city since late last week. The Syrian army announced in a statement on Thursday "the return of safety and security to the city of Aleppo". "This victory constitutes an important turning point," it said.